Date: May 09, 2012 Source: (
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Baltimore, MD -- May 9, 2012 Profectus BioSciences, Inc. (Profectus), a leader in the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines against infectious diseases and cancers, announced today it has received a grant under the Partnerships for Biodefense RFA from the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. This $5.6M award supports the preclinical development of Hendra virus soluble G (HeV - sG) as a vaccine for use in humans against either Nipah or Hendra virus infection. Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV) are closely related Paramyxoviruses that cause a respiratory and encephalitis disease in humans and a variety of animal hosts.
The natural reservoir for these viruses is the flying fox (bats of the genus Pteropus ) found in Australia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Human infections have occurred after exposure to tissues and secretions from infected horses, pigs, and bats or contaminated food products. There is currently no approved vaccine against either NiV or HeV and death is certain for more than 75% of the cases. These viruses are classified as biothreat agents by the NIH and CDC and agriculture threat agents by the USDA. In fact, the Meningoencephalitis Virus (MEV - 1), the subject of the recent cinematic release "Contagion", was modeled after the Nipah virus. HeV - sG represents the ectodomain of the G glycoprotein of Hendra virus that mediates viral infection of its target cell. HeV - sG was created in the laboratory of Dr. Christopher C. Broder at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.
The potential of HeV - sG as a subunit vaccine against these deadly pathogens was first shown in animal models by Dr. Broder and his collaborators at CSIRO AAHL, Geelong, Australia. Recently, non - human primate efficacy studies were performed in collaboration between Dr. Broder and Dr. Thomas Geisbert at the Galveston National Laboratory, University of Texas Medical Branch. All of these animal studies have confirmed that vaccination with HeV - sG protects against disease after infection with otherwise lethal doses of either NiV or HeV. Profectus is collaborating with these investigators to develop the HeV - sG subunit vaccine for use in humans. Profectus is also collaborating with Catalent Pharma Solutions (Middleton, WI) to access their proprietary GPEx® technology to produce high yield mammalian cell lines for cGMP production of HeV - sG